ADHD stress in the evening is the last thing that you want to end your day with. After a day full of managing things at work, you should relax and enjoy your evening with family. Right?
Not necessarily. Interestingly enough, recent research even has shown that many people face more stress at home rather than at work. This makes finding ways to deal with stress at home all the more important.
While relaxing at night and enjoying time with your family might be your plan, ADHD symptoms usually have other plans. Unfortunately, a time that should provide relaxation might quickly turn into a stress filled time because of ADHD. If you parent a child with ADHD, they might prevent you from having a quiet peaceful evening. Likewise, if you experience symptoms of ADHD yourself, the friction of a night home with the family might cause undue stress.
For many years now, doctors have recognized the connection between ADHD and stress. As a result, there exist many helpful and effective strategies for managing ADHD stress. You can find many resources online to help manage anxiety. We recommend you use those resources as available.
While stress comes in many varieties, ADHD stress in the evening can manifest itself in particular ways. The driving factors of ADHD stress in the evening at home with family creates a unique situation that requires specific strategies. In this article, we look at specific tips to help manage ADHD stress in the evening well. Use these tips to keep stress at bay and enjoy your evening family time to the fullest.
#1 Make Dinner Together a Priority
Not surprisingly, ADHD stress in the evening many times arises out of interactions between family members. Interestingly enough, though, one of the biggest reducers of stress can also be interactions between family members. Studies show that spending quality time with family can help reduce stress.
The key to whether family interactions result in more stress depends on the purpose of the interactions. If you see family interactions as needed to get something from your family, you more likely will end up disappointed and stressed. On the other hand, if you see spending time together as the main goal, you will see your stress go down. Another term for this unstructured time might be family bonding time, and studies show it has tremendous value for stress and overall wellbeing.
During the day, you and your family spend hours apart doing other things. Most families share only a limited few hours together each day. Some studies even show that that time might even be less than one hour each day. You need to make the most of this time while you can, and you should make dinner together a priority.
During dinner, you should try to involve everyone in discussion. Ask your kids about their day, about their interests, what they like and what they don’t like. Learn about one another.
The more that you talk to one another and learn about one another, the more you can learn to meet one another’s needs. This communication goes a long way towards providing emotional stability that helps limit the isolation that results in stress.
Make dinner together, no matter the challenges in doing so, a priority. As a result, each member of the family will see the benefit and value in the meal. Ultimately, this shared value helps fight ADHD stress.
#2 Reevaluate Your Expectations
One of the largest causers of stress happens to be unmet expectations. To help mitigate ADHD stress in the evening, you need to make sure that you have the right expectations. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily should expect everything to fall apart. This does mean, though, that you can’t expect everything to go perfectly all the time.
ADHD means that your kids can behavior unpredictably sometimes. No manner how effectively you manage symptoms through medication or supplements, sometimes your kids might just have a bad a day. You might even just have a bad day, which then spills over into a chaotic evening.
To make the most of your evening, you really should only have one expectation: that you will spend time with your family. If you only have that one expectation, you most likely won’t end up disappointed. Science even backs this up. Studies have shown that people with lower expectations tend to be happier.
This shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing, but a good and positive thing. You aren’t lowering your standards for your family time, but rather really enjoying the time and your family for who they really are.
By changing your expectations, you no longer force people to live and act like you believe they should. Instead, you begin to accept them for who they are. In the end, you won’t feel stressed or overwhelmed because no matter how chaotic things become, you still can spend the evening with your family.
#3 Work Together as a Team
As a parent, you need to learn the value and benefits of delegation and working as a team. ADHD stress in the evening starts to take over when you have too much to do with too few hands to do it. You can’t do everything on your own, and taking more on yourself just creates more stress.
Additionally, not only does stress arise from you doing too much, but it also occurs when others do too little. When we talk about ADHD stress in the evening, we mostly probably think of stress caused by our kids with ADHD. You might not have ADHD yourself, but your kids with ADHD not doing what they need to causes you stress as a result. To help limit your kids just doing anything, you need to give them responsibilities.
ADHD symptoms wreak havoc most when your kids don’t have structure to guide them. You need to give them structure by bringing them in as part of the team. Structure makes a huge difference, which is why we can never speak enough about the values of an ADHD daily routine.
Working as a team can mean a number of things, but mostly it means getting your kids and spouse involved with things that need to be done. This means giving your kids chores that they can do after school. Also, you can bring them into helping with making the dinner or other parts of your dinner routine.
Stress arises when you can’t handle everything that you feel like you need to do. By working as a team, you can alleviate some of the pressure off of yourself and give your kids structure to their evenings.
#4 Do Something Active
Many times, ADHD stress in the evening arises out of not getting the amount of activity that we really need. For both kids and parents, most of the day involves sitting down. Whether it's your kids sitting for hours in classes or you sitting for hours at a desk, we simply don’t move as much as we should.
For ADHD symptoms, not exercising can present problems which results in greater stress for everyone. Fortunately, physical activity improves ADHD and limits its symptoms. For this reason, you need to encourage your kids to get active after school.
You should try to put them in team sports if you can. For ideas, you can try some of these best sports for ADHD. Alternatively, you can try to have them do indoor exercises like the suggestions at this link.
This idea of getting active, though, shouldn’t just stop with the kids. You as a parent need to get active as well. Not only does getting up and moving help improve your general physical health, it also helps to reduce overall stress. Many things play into your stress and how you feel about yourself and what happens to you. Physical exercise, as it turns out, has a tremendous impact on how you handle situations and how quickly you begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed out.
To fight ADHD stress in the evening, you need to build in time for everyone to get active. The best time to get moving would be before dinner and well before bedtime. After everyone gets home from work or school, structure time to get up and moving. You can even do it together with a family walk or a friendly game of basketball or soccer. Get moving, and you can help your stress levels in the process.
#5 Encourage Activities that Bring Everyone Together
Unfortunately, in our modern culture, evenings generally mean that everyone scatters to do something different. If that wasn’t bad enough, the individual activities usually involve sitting and looking at electronics. From Dad watching sports on TV to your son playing video games in his room to your daughter texting back and forth on her smartphone, everyone is plugged in separately doing something on their own.
While this separation seems to allow some escapism and feelings of rest, ultimately it serves to drive families apart. In the end, this separation creates more stress than it saves us from. By being more disconnected from one another, we end up lonely, isolated, and feeling like no one understands us or can help us.
To avoid this and fix ADHD stress in the evening, you need to encourage more group activities. Individual time can be important and helpful, but more than that, we each need the support of our family. We need and desire to be understood and heard.
To try to foster more togetherness as a family, in addition to focusing on a family dinner, you could encourage a family game night once a week. You could also encourage everyone to do homework together in the same room. Finally, you can focus on requiring no screen time after a certain point at night. With no electronics, your family might naturally move towards one another.
Fight Back Against ADHD Stress in the Evening
ADHD stress in the evening has the potential to derail your good day or even your week. Time at home with your family always has its ups and downs. You shouldn’t, though, let ADHD dictate whether you can enjoy spending time with your family or not. You need to fight back against ADHD stress in the evening today.
Part of managing ADHD well involves learning how to manage ADHD stress well. As we mentioned at the beginning, ADHD and stress tend to follow one another. If you don’t learn to address stress at its roots, it can quickly overtake you and ruin your relationships and health.
If you have ADHD yourself or parent a child with ADHD, you need to arm yourself with the right tools to know how to address the causes of stress. Stress can crop up in the most unlikely places, from vacations to family dinners. Use the tips found in this article to make ADHD stress in the evening a thing of the past. For more tips on fighting stress well, check out some of our other resources such as our post on ADHD relaxation and mindfulness.
Here at FastBraiin, we believe that you can learn to manage ADHD well. You’re not alone. You can have help in finding the right solution for your situation. Use us and other great resources online to help plan out an effective ADHD management plan today.